Heritage Foundation, report, climate change.
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from rJoão Cautela / Wikimedia (CC0 1.0) and Project 2025

A plan by the super-rich to grab power would lead to human extinction.

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Probably you have heard something about this, as it has trickled into the coverage of major news organizations in the past week or so, but I cannot think of anything more troubling or more needing of immediate public discussion: 

A mind-boggling, nefarious GOP plan that, if they take power in the next election, would wipe out all efforts to stop climate change. 

I don’t think this is ringing the alarm bells to the extent it should. Compared to all the other news, this is significantly different. 

The most “sophisticated” members of the traditional Republican funding core — and not some wild-eyed MAGA insurrectionists — are basically announcing their plan that would effectively end our world. 

That’s right, though it sounds crazy. And is

This group is planning to turn up the gas jets even higher, so we keep setting new records — July was the hottest month on record; glaciers are melting even faster than expected; Antarctica is losing ice mass at a rate of about 150 billion tons per year; Greenland is losing about 270 billion tons per year; the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the world — all of which adds to rising sea levels.  

Also rising: profits of fossil fuel oligarchs — which are setting new records.

Crazy as MAGA — But Better Dressed

The plan to eviscerate efforts to fight global warming comes from the Heritage Foundation, a powerful central element of the Republican, business-oriented establishment. 

They are working to ensure — and seem to be confident of — a GOP victory, and have boldly announced their “presidential transition project” in a book they call Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise:

Policy Agenda

This book is an invitation for you the reader — Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, and Ms. Smith — to come to Washington or support those who can. Our goal is to assemble an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State.

“Deconstructing the Administrative State” would invite total chaos and remove all barriers to the continued enrichment of corporations and billionaires. It certainly fits most definitions of personal gain as a component of collective suicide, but because they are able to hire a crack team of graphic artists and word-spinners, and because they’re all such “successes,” we’re not supposed to grasp the magnitude of their assault on the rest of us.

Politico summed up the report well:

[The Republican plan] would block the expansion of the electrical grid for wind and solar energy; slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice office; shutter the Energy Department’s renewable energy offices; prevent states from adopting California’s car pollution standards; and delegate more regulation of polluting industries to Republican state officials.

If enacted, it could decimate the federal government’s climate work, stymie the transition to clean energy and shift agencies toward nurturing the fossil fuel industry rather than regulating it. It’s designed to be implemented on the first day of a Republican presidency.

But don’t take anyone else’s word for it. I urge you to read the original document, since this is their own words, not someone mischaracterizing what someone else said. Then take a moment to pull it all together and grasp just how draconian the whole thing is. And don’t be fooled by the slippery salesperson’s language. Here’s an example from their chapter on the Environmental Protection Agency (Page 417):

A conservative EPA will track success by measured progress as opposed to the current perpetual process and will convey this progress to the public in clear, concise terms. True transparency will be a defining characteristic of a conservative EPA. This will be reflected in all agency work, including the establishment of open source science to build not only transparency and awareness among the public, but also trust.

What they mean by “open source” should raise bright red flags. That means a source that posts non-peer-reviewed articles — even pseudoscience — the kind of papers rejected by outlets with high standards, papers that deny climate change is caused by humans. And the kind of papers Fox News likes to quote. 

As for “transparency,” aren’t these people colleagues of the same kind of oil company executives who lied to us for decades on the irreversible harm their industry was causing?  (Please see WhoWhatWhy’s story The Man Who Called Donald Trump a ‘Moron.’)  

And the lying is nonstop. While the planet burns, Koch-funded lawyer Steve Milloy told a smirking Laura Ingraham of Fox News that there’s no health risk, none at all, from breathing the smoke from all the wildfires. To appreciate what a toxic, dangerous lie this is, go here, here, here, and here.  

Anyone considering what is actually being proposed should grasp from the text its radical and retrogressive nature, as shown on the next page: 

Not surprisingly, the EPA under the Biden Administration has returned to the same top-down, coercive approach that defined the Obama Administration. There has been a reinstitution of unachievable standards designed to aid in the “transition” away from politically disfavored industries and technologies and toward the Biden Administration’s preferred alternatives. This approach is most obvious in the Biden Administration’s assault on the energy sector as the Administration uses its regulatory might to make coal, oil, and natural gas operations very expensive and increasingly inaccessible while forcing the economy to build out and rely on unreliable renewables.This approach has also been applied to pesticides and chemicals as the Biden Administration pushes the “greening” of agriculture and manufacturing among other industrial activities.

They could have saved some ink (and trees) and just gone with the old “Drill, baby, drill!”

What they’re saying, pretty clearly, is they intend to block the kind of action currently underway — action that scientists say is already inadequate to halt global warming. It’s just total madness when the patient is already in such bad shape to propose reducing medical care and arguing this will in any way help. 

I’m struck by the fact that a large segment of the GOP base is fundamentalist Christians, who believe we are in a war with Satan. Also, many fundamentalists embrace “End Times” — so we’re not only face-to-face with idiocy bringing about the end of the world and the Rapture, but with an actual enthusiasm for it! 

This conveniently dovetails with the GOP’s money side, the corporate wing that looks at nothing beyond bottom lines and maximally profitable opportunities (e.g., good old reliable oil and gas), and concludes, when push comes to shove, we’ll just tech our way out of global warming. Or not — we’ll all be dead by then, so why worry? 

To my eyes, this GOP document looks like the Devil’s own work. And this is a Devil you know, a Devil whose mad manifesto you can actually read. 

If you know a single person who “might not vote” or thinks it doesn’t matter, try to walk them through this and point out that the expected 2024 party nominees are polling almost even among “likely” voters. 

Then see if they might like to move themselves from “unlikely” to “likely — and sane.” 


  • Russ Baker

    Russ Baker is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. He is an award-winning investigative journalist who specializes in exploring power dynamics behind major events.

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